machine tool orders chart

The three-month average and total orders for October indicate a solid result for new orders -- though the 12-month average is less positive for the machine too sector.

Machine Tool Orders Continued to Rise in October

+10.2% vs. September -3.2% vs. October 2012 -10.6% year-to-date

New orders for machine tools and related technologies rose 10.2% from September to October, according to data in the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report. Domestic machine shops and other manufacturers booked $435.02 million during October, up from $394.57 million for September. Still, the new figure indicates a 3.2% decline from October 2012, continuing the weaker year-on-year results that have prevailed for much of 2013.

The monthly USMTO report is compiled by AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology based on actual data for metal cutting equipment and metal forming and fabricating equipment, as reported by participating companies.  The data covers nationwide results as well as activity in six geographic regions.

In the October results, orders for metal cutting equipment rose 7.9% from September, totaling $418.09 million for the month, and metal forming equipment sales rose 139.7%, totaling 16.92 million for the month.

Year-to-date manufacturing technology orders now total $3.94 billion across the U.S., which is 10.6% off the pace set from January to October 2012. Current year sales continue to lag the impressive pace set during 2012, in particular the high volume of sales during September last year.

“October’s order growth, combined with the latest PMI reading, is added reinforcement that manufacturing is continuing on its positive trend,” offered AMT president Douglas K. Woods. “We expect more good news headed into 2014, especially as domestic energy costs continue to drop and as key industry segments show solid growth, particularly automotive.”

Regional Imbalance

Data for U.S. regional orders for machine tools and related technology showed widely varying results, with strong activity in North Central-West, West, and Northeast, a smaller improvement in the Southeast, but single-digit declines elsewhere.

The Northeast delivered a positive result for the month. New orders of manufacturing technology rose 16.8% from September to October, up to $71.51 million. The figure is 12.1% higher than the October 2012 total, and brings the region’s annual total for new orders to $655.0 million, up 2.1% from the January-October total.

New orders for cutting tools in the Southeast totaled $38.71 million, up 6.0% from September results. But, with $346.98 million in regional sales for the ten months of 2013, Southeastern regional sales are down 20.2% versus the same period of 2012. (The Southeast region is one of three for which, due to a change in survey participants, the year-over-year comparative figures are “not an accurate reflection of the data,” according to AMT.)

The North Central-East region saw new orders for machine tools fall slightly, 0.2% during October, to $103.72 million. The figure is off the October 2012 pace by 15.1%, and brings the 2013 year-to-date total to $1.008 billion, down 11.0% compared with the comparable 2012 figure.

The North Central-West region posted new machine tool orders of $91.72 million for October, up 26.8% over September’s $72.32 million, but 3.4% more than the October 2012 result. For January-October 2013, the region has compiled new orders worth $737.92 million, 14.0% less than the ten-month total for 2012.     

In the South Central region, October new orders fell 4.5% from September to $57.88 million, and 11.2% from the October 2012 total. The year-to-date has seen machine tool orders of $599.64 million, 20.8% less than the January-October 2012 figure. 

Lastly, in the West, regional new orders for metal cutting tools increased 21.5% to $70.75 million in October, up 23.5% over the October 2012 result. For the first ten months of this year, the West region recorded new orders totaling $578.59 million, 2.5% higher than at the same point of last year.

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